Fitness Friendly Foods to Help Fight Inflammation
If you’ve ever participated in a strength training regimen such as the system we use at Training For Warriors, then you've no doubt joined a club of people who all share a common experience – post exercise muscle soreness.
As you lift weights you are breaking down muscle fibers and connective tissues. As the body works to repair the damage, it increases new cells. The result is improved strength which helps you burn more fat throughout your day.
The problem is, this process also creates inflammation.
- Strength was reduced by 14% within 3 hours of exercise but returned after 12-24 hours.
- Injury markers in the blood stayed for 48 hours.
- Within 3 hours of exercise, the body’s immune system was activated – white blood cells worked to clear away debris.
- Inflammation lingered for up to 72 hours.
You can do a number of things to reduce soreness. Dynamic stretching, massage, cold or heat therapy, or light movement can help assist BUT to really attack that inflammation you need to create a systemic response.
Eating the right foods immediately post workout consistently will give you a stronger first line of defense against inflammation. Take a look at 5 foods you can add to your diet to feel better faster:
1. Spice it up with Cinnamon. Of course you can use it to flavor all sorts of foods but cinnamon is more than just a tasty spice. Studies have found that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties – it may also help prevent Alzheimer's Disease. Try using it in your next smoothie, protein pancake, coffee or tea, and yogurt.
2. Fruit minus the Loops. No doubt you’ve heard that blueberries and their colorful cousins black berries, strawberries and raspberries are great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory fruits but have you heard that the best of all may be pineapple?
Pineapple’s protein-digesting enzyme bromelain along with its Vitamin C help reduce swelling, bruising and pain. They also can help ease arthritis. While you are in the produce section, pick up a fresh pineapple, some cherries, papaya, and apples to spread the anti-inflammatory love around!
3. Go Nuts. Almonds and walnuts are your go-to winners in the nut bowl. Both are loaded with Vitamin E, fiber and calcium. Cashews are another great choice.
Try these recipes to increase your nut intake:
- Almond crusted pork with honey mustard dipping sauce – substitute ground flaxseed or almond meal for the breading.
- Broccoli apple salad with walnuts.
- Paleo cashew chicken – this tasty recipe is a true champion because it also includes the inflammation fighting ingredients, garlic, ginger and red pepper.
4. Eat Your Greens People! At the top of nearly every list of anti-inflammatory foods are green, leafy vegetables. They are packed full of anti-oxidants and naturally occurring plant-based steroids that can help ease inflammation.
If you’ve had your fill of spinach and kale salads, add them to other foods to broaden your taste while still boosting your health:
5. Cruise to the Mediterranean – Mediterranean diets are hailed as hearth healthy but they are also anti-inflammatory as well. Whether you make a zucchini lasagna dish or a delicious Mediterranean salad, you’ll reap the benefits of a number of great ingredients.
Any recipe that includes olive oil, tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices such as basil, rosemary and parsley is giving you a super dose of anti-inflammatory properties.
Put together a regimen of eating these inflammation-fighting foods and being nice to yourself on your days away from strength training and you’ll find that getting stronger doesn’t have to be such a pain!
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